317 St. Francis Dr. Suite 350
Greenville, SC 29601

317 St. Francis Dr.
Suite 350
Greenville, SC 29601
Tel: 1-864-235-1834, Fax: 1-864-235-2486

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Getting to Grips with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Getting to Grips with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Wrist pain, pins and needles and loss of grip could be due to carpal tunnel syndrome.

carpal tunnel syndrome reliefIf you’re getting pain in your hands, numbness or pins and needles at night, and find you can’t grip as well as you used to, you might start to worry about arthritis. It’s the logical candidate for these kinds of symptoms, but don’t assume it’s responsible in your case – get yourself checked out by your doctor. You could be suffering from ligament strain in the arm or neck, or have pinched or inflamed nerves in the neck, and it’s important to ascertain the cause of your symptoms to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment. One of the most common causes of these symptoms is a condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

When you have CTS, the tendons in your wrist become inflamed, usually after being subjected to repetitive activities that put undue stress on the wrists. Consequently, the collection of bones and ligaments in the wrist that is known as the carpal tunnel narrows over time. This puts pressure on the nerves and muscles of the hand, specifically the median nerve, which causes the discomfort associated with the condition.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms can vary in each case, but there are three tell-tale signs that your problem is due to CTS:

  1. Numbness and pins and needles, most usually upon waking in the morning. The sensation is concentrated on the forefinger side of the hand, so the pinky is not commonly affected. Sufferers often flex their wrist or shake it out to make it more comfortable.
  2. Loss of grip, leading to dropped dinner plates, difficulty keeping your coffee cup steady, and an inability to lift awkward objects like sacks of flour and bottles, that have smooth surfaces with no handles. You may feel a weakness in the hand, a reduction in the normal strength, or the feeling that you can’t hold on to things as long as you used to.
  3. Pain in the wrist, base of the thumb, and very often a deeply unpleasant aching pain that travels from your wrist to your shoulder.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The symptoms usually come on quite gradually, which is one of the reasons you might suspect arthritis. A sprain or injury to the wrist is instantly painful, and you have a clear cause for your discomfort. However, carpal tunnel syndrome can have a number of causes that may not be immediately obvious, and the progression of the symptoms is far slower. Possible causes include the repetitive strain damage mentioned above, repeated bending of the wrist, damage to the wrist, and hormonal changes in the body caused by thyroid imbalance, diabetes or quite often pregnancy. If it does arise during pregnancy, the symptoms often recede after the birth. Changes caused by arthritis can lead to CTS, so it’s possible you have both conditions. Whatever the cause it’s important to get a diagnosis, because there are treatments available that can alleviate and eradicate carpal tunnel syndrome.

In the next post, we’ll be looking at the diagnostic tests used to confirm carpal tunnel syndrome, and the different treatment methods available here at Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.